Over the past few years, the popularity of benzodiazepine has skyrocketed. This prescription medication can help individuals with mental illness, relieve symptoms of anxiety and panic attacks, and reduce muscle spasms and seizures.
Because of that, many people rely on this drug to lead normal lives. Yet, there’s one major drawback of taking benzos.
Unfortunately, due to their quick calming effect, benzodiazepines are incredibly addictive. The drugs can result in a chemical dependency that’ll take a long while to shake.
On top of that, you’ll need specialized benzo addiction treatment to help you overcome this substance use disorder. Luckily, the Long Island Treatment Center can help.
So, if you’re interested in learning more about benzo addiction treatment, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ll walk you through the entire benzo recovery process and what it entails.
We’ll also cover the negative effects of abusing benzodiazepine.
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Benzodiazepines were first introduced into the world by renowned scientist Hoffmann-La Roche in 1955. At first, pharmacologists and patients alike praised the drug for its sedative abilities.
Because of that, the popularity of the medication skyrocketed in a flash.
Yet, as time went on, some people began reporting instances of chemical dependency. Although, it wasn’t until the 1980s that scientists studied the addictive effects of the drug, and the results were surprising.
Doctors discovered that patients developed a physical and psychological dependence on the medication within the first few weeks of use.
On top of that, when people tried cutting the drug out of their lives, they’d go through severe benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms.
For that reason, the Food and Drug Association (FDA) stepped in. The organization put exceptionally strict guidelines in place to keep this issue under control.
So, doctors are allowed to prescribe the medication in specific daily doses. Plus, they can only do that after giving the patient a clear warning about the addictive properties of benzo drugs.
As long as patients take the medication as prescribed by a doctor, they shouldn’t face any adverse effects. However, when people abuse the drug and ignore the recommended dosages, they can develop an addiction.
Sadly, the FDA guidelines didn’t stop the spread of benzo medications all over the country. Today, about 12% to 15% of Americans use benzodiazepines.
Of those citizens, around 17% misuse the drug, and 2% have developed a full-blown addiction. This roughly translates to 30 million people who suffer from some form of benzo abuse disorder.
Thankfully, benzodiazepine use disorders aren’t a death sentence. In fact, with the proper treatment, you can overcome the chemical dependency safely.
Although, to ensure the recovery process is swift and effective, you’ll need to rely on drug rehabs. Luckily, there are countless facilities like the Long Island Treatment Center that can help with that.
The institution offers several recovery plans to help people overcome a wide range of addictions.
At this point, you should know that benzodiazepines are exceptionally addictive. Yet, you may not be aware of how harmful this chemical dependency can be.
So, in this section, we’ll cover some of the most common symptoms of benzodiazepine abuse.
We talked about how benzodiazepines have a calming effect. Because of that, many patients started taking the drug to regulate their sleep cycles.
The chemical would help them go to bed earlier and sleep for longer periods. While this may sound like a dream come true, there’s one catch.
Regularly consuming benzos can suppress deep sleep and cause insomnia. This, in turn, will compromise the restorative effects of sleep.
So, people would wake up after eight hours in bed and still feel unrested. For that reason, many patients increased their dosage, which contributed to developing an addiction to benzodiazepines.
Benzodiazepines are effective as anti-anxiety medications because they alter your central nervous system (CNS). The drug will facilitate the binding of inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA at various GABA receptors.
For that reason, it’ll induce feelings of calm and drowsiness.
Yet, since the medication can affect your CNS, it can hinder your motor skills. In the beginning, benzos will help you control your shaky hands.
However, with extended use, the drugs may cause involuntary spasms. Besides that, stopping the consumption of the drug won’t solve the problem.
That’s because the withdrawal symptoms will make the tremors worse.
3. Headaches and Memory Problems
Due to the sedative properties of benzos, the medications can lower your blood pressure. This can be an incredibly useful effect if you struggle with hypertension.
Yet, if you don’t have high blood pressure, the drug will lead to hypotension. That means your heart will pump blood around your body much slower.
Because of that, your brain won’t have as much access to oxygen. Unfortunately, this can lead to a whole host of issues.
For starters, the problem will manifest as simple headaches. However, with continued benzo misuse, the problem will be exacerbated and may develop into migraines.
Besides that, the low oxygen concentration in the brain can cause memory loss.
Now that you know how serious a benzo addiction can be, we can move on to the treatment plan. In this section, we’ll show you how we deal with the issue at the Long Island Treatment Center.
1. Benzo Withdrawal
Right off the bat, the first step of the recovery process is to flush the benzos out of your system. This can be an exceptionally rough procedure.
That’s because of benzo’s withdrawal symptoms. If you quit the prescription medication cold turkey, you may face a variety of physical ailments.
These include severe abdominal cramps, nausea, tiredness, and even face and neck pain. Plus, the addict’s cravings for benzos will become overwhelming.
As you can imagine, going through these symptoms alone can be a tall order. Aside from that, the addict may hurt themselves or the surrounding people in the haze of withdrawal.
This treatment facility will ensure you have 24/7 surveillance. On top of that, it’ll provide addicts with a few therapy options.
These can ease the symptoms of withdrawal and make detoxification much more manageable. They may take the form of medication or talk therapy.
The duration of the process can change depending on a few factors.
- The form in which the addict takes the benzos
- The dose of benzos the patient consumes
- Underlying physical or mental conditions
- The duration of the addiction
2. Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy
While benzo detoxification is the first and toughest part of the recovery process, it’s far from the last. The detox will only help with the physical symptoms.
So, since the medication alters your psychological state, you’ll need to go through extensive therapy.
That’s when outpatient programs can come in handy. These facilities will provide counseling to addicts in various forms.
For instance, there’s group therapy, family therapy, and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) meetings.
All of these will focus on cognitive correction. The counseling will revolve around teaching the benzo addict how to unlearn certain behavioral patterns.
Plus, it’ll make letting go of destructive habits much easier.
Besides that, the Long Island Treatment Center offers Dual Diagnosis therapy. This is particularly useful if a person has an addiction problem coupled with a mental illness.
3. Controlling Cravings and Sublimating
One of the most challenging aspects of a benzo addiction is the lingering cravings. Even after the drug is out of your system, chances are it’ll still be on your mind.
While these cravings can be overpowering at first, they’ll slowly subside. Plus, the drug rehab will help the addict find ways to sublimate.
This means assisting them in coming up with strategies to curb their cravings. It can be through physical exercise, meditation, or even talk therapy.
That’s why many people who suffer from benzo use disorders like to rely on a sponsor. This is a former addict who’s been clean for a while.
They can walk you through their own experiences with overcoming a benzo addiction.
4. Societal Reintegration
After the addict leaves the outpatient facility, they’ll have to reintegrate back into society. While this may seem like a simple task, it can be quite tough.
That’s because out in public, temptation is everywhere. The addicts will be surrounded by the same environment that led them to the substance abuse problem in the first place.
So, the temptation may prove too much to resist. That’s why it’s crucial that former addicts enroll in a sober living facility.
Institutions like halfway homes can help former benzo addicts get back on their feet. They’ll help with finding jobs, housing, and even counseling.
Benzodiazepines are prescription medications that have a calming effect. Because of that, many people with anxiety and panic disorders take these drugs to help them lead normal lives.
Yet, sadly, benzos are highly addictive. They can have severe mental and physical side effects with long-term use.
Luckily, benzo addiction treatment is effective and readily available. At the Long Island Treatment Center, you’ll have access to several medical interventions to help you get clean.